International Yoga Day

International Yoga Day in Delhi, India

The participants in the mass performance of Common Yoga Protocol, on the occasion of the 4th International Day of Yoga -2018, at Qutub Minar Complex, in New Delhi on June 21, 2018 (photo courtesy Ministry of Tourism, Gov’t of India)

On this year’s summer solstice, June 21, 2018, millions of people around the world celebrated the 4th annual International Day of Yoga (IDY), with major activities taking place in Delhi, India. Founded by India’s Prime Minister Modi, IDY was designed to take the message of yoga’s healing properties for mind-body-spirit wellness to people all over the world.

In India, Prime Minister Modi lead a yoga practice with a mass outdoor group of about 50,000 in sweltering heat of 40C. There was a VIP event at the nearby Qutub Minar Complex in Delhi, where yours truly participated (photo: first row, third from the right). Events took place around the globe from the U.K. to Denmark to Canada to the U.S.

The origins of yoga began in India more than 5,000 years ago, though it is only in recent times that yoga has caught on in the western world. Yoga’s history is fascinating. According to India’s Ministry of External Affairs: Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science, which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. It is an art and science of healthy living. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. (Dr. Ishwar V. Basavaraddi).

There are many different forms of yoga. I’ve decided to explore a few of them. While I am somewhat of a fair-weathered yoga practitioner, I am aware of the health benefits from having a regular yoga practice. Mostly, I drop in for classes at my gym, or sometimes I do poses at home, however I do know it is not enough. I will explore more about yoga in coming blog posts.

Shannon Skinner is a Toronto-based author, travel writer, speaker, radio host and host/creator of Tweet to her at

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